For our November 2018 “Feast Around the World” feature, we asked five of the state’s top chefs to create festive meals to serve this season. What we got was a cornucopia of global flavors.
Maribel Rivero’s three-year journey across South America, which included her native Bolivia as well as neighboring Peru, inspired the chef to return to Austin and open a Peruvian restaurant of her own. Her holiday feast is a celebration of the flavors found at Yuyo. Below is a seafood side dish from Rivero’s “Peruvian Party” feast.
Causa With Crabmeat Filling
1 pound purple potatoes (can substitute Yukon gold)
3 tablespoons aji rocoto paste (available online)
1 ½ tablespoons lime juice (preferably Mexican limes)
¼ cup mild oil, such as canola
1 teaspoon salt
Boil potatoes until very soft, about 25 to 40 minutes, depending on size. Cool slightly and remove skins as soon as you can. Pass potatoes through a ricer into a bowl. Add rocoto paste, lime juice, oil, and salt, and thoroughly mix with a rubber spatula. Add more salt if needed. Texture should be smooth, a bit like wet sand, and the flavor tart, spicy, and pleasantly salty.
Lump Crab Filling
1 pound lump crabmeat (available precooked in refrigerated case or seafood counter; can substitute cooked chicken)
zest of 2 limes
juice of 1 lime
¼ cup minced celery
3 tablespoons minced red onion
1 teaspoon salt
1 avocado, diced, for garnish
1 tablespoon aji amarillo paste (available online and at some Fiesta Marts and Central Markets), for garnish
mayonnaise (ready-made, mixed with a little aji paste for color), for garnish
In a bowl, use your hands to loosely mix the crabmeat, lime zest and juice, celery, red onion, and salt. Work gently so the crab doesn’t get stringy. Taste and add salt if desired. To assemble, lightly oil a springform pan and line bottom with wax paper. Neatly spread half the potatoes on the bottom, top evenly with the crab mixture, and finish with the remaining potatoes. Release the sides of the pan, transfer causa to a large plate, and garnish with avocado, dots of aji paste, and piped mayonnaise. To make individual servings, use small ring molds and tamp the layers down with the bottom of a glass. Serve cold.